As Nutcracker season approaches, it’s possible you’re already feeling the busy energy in the air that either motivates us or leaves us feeling frantic and overwhelmed. There are a lot of ways you can calm your mind and body through this season. Here’s a guidemap for creating a balanced approach to the Nutcracker season.

balanced nutcracker season

Reflect on your past Nutcracker experiences.

Think about Nutcracker’s past. Consider what worked and what didn’t. In the moment, it’s possible you felt a bit of just gotta get through it and survive.

How would you like to feel through the Nutcracker and holiday seasons? Pick out a few desired feelings. Maybe you want to feel inspired, energized, or happy. What can you do to help yourself achieve those feelings through all the rehearsing, performing, and holiday parties?

If, in the past, you struggled to find time to prepare meals that help you feel your best, consider when or how you’ll work in some meal planning or preparation. There’s still time to make soups or meals ahead of time and freeze them so they’re ready to go. Easy options like canned soup or frozen meals will also be a great benefit to you during this busy time.

Do you want to make more time for socializing this season? Maybe you need to create time and space for household chores. If you have jobs outside of dance, you might have to be very direct in asking for schedule adjustments, or maybe you can decrease your hours during this time. Find ways to advocate for yourself to make your schedule as balanced as possible. 

Consider the things that help you feel happy, grounded, and inspired through the holidays.

What lights you up this time of year? If you’re someone who loves the holiday decor or watching holiday movies, find ways to include those things in your life. 

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Think about the extras in your schedule that might not serve you during this time, and prioritize the things that help you feel your best. If you find yourself constantly scrolling on social media, it might be a good time to delete those apps so you can be more present and productive in the limited free time you have.

This doesn’t mean you aren’t giving yourself down time, it means you’re giving yourself more intentional downtime. It can be very helpful to include things like meditation or restorative yoga this time of year. That way, you can de-stress and connect with yourself on a deeper level.

Prioritize your individual needs.

Your needs are unique. The things getting your friends through the Nutcracker season may not be the same things you need to feel and dance your best during this busy time of year. 

We all have different energy for socializing, being out of the house, and non-dance activity. Lean into what feels best for you, and when you find you’re comparing to other dancers, connect back to the benefits of honoring your personal needs.

When you fuel yourself according to what you need, you’re much more likely to eat adequately and feel as energized as possible. By honoring your preferences with socializing, you’ll be able to maintain calm and better cope with stress. Doing the things true to who you are strengthens your confidence and empowerment in dance and life. 

Stay aware of what you’ve got coming up next. 

The keep your head down and get through it mentality can sometimes help in the case of Nutcracker. However, if you’re going to be auditioning in the new year, it’s really important to take care of some key tasks to feel as ready as possible for that process. 

Make sure you have a clear vision for what you’d like to achieve in the new year. Having an idea of what you’d like to do and how you’ll get there is going to help you look forward to the process instead of dreading it.

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Draft your email for audition season. Every email you write that includes your photos, resume, and video links should be a cover letter. It’s true, most companies don’t actually ask for a cover letter, but that email should communicate all the things a cover letter otherwise would. This shows maturity and readiness for the next step in your dance journey. And if this is already drafted, you don’t have to worry about it when you’re recovering from Nutcracker.

Finalize your company list. Research companies, reach out to current and former dancers, and find the places you feel excited to work with. Make sure your list includes at least 40 companies, and have a range of big, small, and mid-sized companies. 

Create or at least plan for audition videos, photos, and your resumé. Have dates and studio rentals ready to film your video footage and to take photos. Reach out to teachers and ask them to write you a recommendation. 

Consider your mindset. It’s one of the most common mistakes I see. Dancers go into audition season with all the obvious resources but without addressing mindset, confidence, body image, or audition performance strategy at all. Do some journaling to gain clarity now. What are the areas you are confident in? What are the things you might struggle with through the audition process?

If you want to approach audition season with strategy, confidence, and intention, sign up for the free audition success workshop. 
You’ll find the details and can sign up here: https://www.thewholedancer.com/audition-success/

Planning for a Balanced Nutcracker Season

Jess Spinner

Jess is a former professional ballet dancer turned Holistic Health, Nutrition, and Lifestyle Coach for high level dancers. She founded The Whole Dancer in 2015 after identifying a greater need for balance, wellness and support in the dance world. Since The Whole Dancer was founded, Jess has worked with 100's of dancers worldwide at top companies and schools. She has been featured in or written for Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine, Pointe Magazine, and Dance Spirit Magazine.

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